One of the many things I love about food and cooking is that there’s always something new to learn. So when I was offered the opportunity to visit L’atelier des Chefs for an afternoon of Indian cooking, I couldn’t resist.
When the “What food would you eat for the rest of your life if you could only choose one” conversation comes up, my husband always says Indian. Not sure I’m quite on the same level of love for curry but having said that, we do eat a fair bit of Indian food. Any day is a good day for a curry in our household (come rain or shine).
This means that I’ve been experimenting with different recipes, juggling spices and marinades and trying to come up with the perfectly rounded dish with just the right amount of spice. It’s a tricky business and although I have produced some (surprisingly) delicious and authentic curries, I’ve also been responsible for too many on the bland/watery/just not very nice side. So I was very keen for any useful snippets on how to master this delicious cuisine.
L’atelier des Chefs has a beautiful, sparkling kitchen where you prepare and cook your menu. Our lovely chef Dahlia, started off by talking us through the basics and demonstrating chopping techniques. One thing about being a self-taught chef, my chopping style’s a little unconventional, so I tried to follow her meticulous ways when it was our turn to get everything ready. More practice definitely n eeded.
Two firsts for me, the chance to make Indian Naan bread and samosas from scratch. We started off with the dough for the bread. All very therapeutic (plenty of kneading and pulling) and with great results, too.
The filling for the samosas included a spicy mix of garlic, cloves, ginger and chilli added to juicy prawns and diced, cooked potatoes. We used filo pastry which is not the traditional way but means that you can bake the samosas in the oven rather than deep frying. Folding the sheet over the filling to make these tasty triangles was fun. I’m definitely making my own samosas again soon. It’s well worth the effort to get to these deliciously homemade delicacies, all beautifully golden and crispy.
For main course we cooked a Goan fish curry. Another great combo of ingredients in a luscious sauce, and it didn’t take long to do at all.
For the final dish it was time for a classic side dish, red lentil and coconut dhal. We started off with the smell of frying spices tempting our senses, including mustard seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves. I love the way lentils taste so creamy combined with the right combo of spices. Absolutely delectable.
L’Atelier des Chefs is at 19 Wigmore Street. There’s a huge selection of courses to choose from, including Sushi and Japanese, Thai, pasta, bread and baking, French, Morrocan, Vegetarian, Spanish…even mastering macaroons. See what I mean, there’s always something new to learn. Find out more at www.atelierdeschefs.co.uk
The links to all the recipes I cooked are below, so do give them a go, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Prawn and potato samosa with a lime and chilli dip
Goan fish curry with coconut and green chillies
Indian Naan Bread
Red lentil and coconut Dhal